Mangroves, which cover over 150 share kilometres of the UAE’s coastline, are like the green lungs of big cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi; they “are the only evergreen forest in the Gulf and their unique ability to survive in this habitat makes them what we know as an 'ecosystem engineer', providing shelter and foraging to many marine and terrestrial species,” according to Guillermo Friis, a postdoctoral associate in the marine biology lab at New York University Abu Dhabi. Now you can walk among them and learn more about these ecological marvels at the Jubail Mangrove Park.
The 1 million square meter area, which is a project initiated by Modon Properties, is filled with mangroves spreading on either side of the boardwalk. Among the wildlife found around the walk are birds, fish, and crabs. The water is crystal clear, which allows you to see the mangrove roots and marine life easily. If you feel like you need more information, rangers will be on hand to provide information about all its flora and fauna. A leisurely-paced stroll through the longest route of the walk should take between 35 and 40 minutes, and there are plans to host interactive educational lessons and tours for schools soon.
The aim of Jubail Mangrove Park is to enhance Abi Dhabi’s sustainability efforts and to highlight the importance of mangroves to the environment. There are also several steps that are being taken to ensure that the park remains clean and protected. For example, it closes after sundown to prevent the use of artificial lighting, no eating or fishing is allowed, and there’s a maximum holding capacity for the boardwalk, so if visitor numbers exceed, some will have to exit before others are allowed access.
The park is open daily from 8 AM to 6:30 PM and is currently free to enter.
Source: The National